Kids Learn Fire Safety Tips Through ‘Books In The Park’

Summer Reading 2016 - 1

Students gather around Franklin Park Fire Department’s truck July 20 during the Books in the Park Fire Safety Day program.

Elementary school students gathered in a park in Somerset Mews July 20 learned a few lessons in what to do in case of a fire.

The two dozen or so students were there as part of the school district’s summer “Books in the Park” program, which for 14 years has been encouraging youths to read through lending them new and slightly used books.

The fire safety lessons were taught by township Fire Marshals and members of the Franklin Park Fire Depart,eat, who brought one of their engines to show the students.

This is the first time the program has had a fire safety day, said Fran Bardusco, a high school English as a Second Language teacher, and co-creator of the program.

“We had a police safety day, and we built upon that,” she said. “The manager of this property wanted her residents to feel comfortable about calling the fire department at the appropriate times.”

The book lending program is run as part of the township’s ESL program, which has been designated by the state Department of Education as a model program. Two representatives of the state DOE were on hand July 20 to see the program close-up.

The program visits Somerset Mews from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the Easton North apartment complex from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

During the visit, students are read books by volunteers, then participate in a crafting session.

Eric Mickelson, a township fire marshal, said programs such as these are helpful.

“We like doing programs like this because it really gets the message out and drives it home about how to be fire safe in their dwelling units,” he said. “A lot of times in the bigger assemblies that they do in school, it’s not an individualized focused message, and here we really get to do a little one-on-one with the kids.”

“We visit the schools once a year during fire prevention month, and we try to get into any program where can get out in the community like this to do fire prevention education,” he said.

“If they walk away with two or three key ideas in their heads, then we’ve really made an impact, because they’ll take them home and relay them to their family members and their parents and the whole family gets a litle bit of fire prevention education,” he said.

2016 Books in the Park


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